New York, July 26 : Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama wrote a prayer in Jerusalem this week - and left it at Judaism's holiest of sites, the Western Wall. As Barack placed his prayer in the cracks of the Western Wall, someone came from behind and stole it.
That pilfered prayer has now been published in an Israeli newspaper, exposing to the world a personal plea for God to help him "guard against pride and despair."
Obama left the handwritten note during his trip to the 2,000-year-old solemn site in Jerusalem on Thursday, following a tradition of visitors to the wall leaving messages of prayer in its cracks.
But in a move that many said was unheard of, the note was stolen from the wall, reportedly by a Jewish seminary student and then published in the Israeli paper "Maariv".
"Lord - Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will," Obama wrote on the stationery from the King David Hotel, where he stayed.
Shmuel Rabinovitz, the rabbi in charge of the wall, has slammed Maariv for publishing the text, the New York Post reports.
He told Israeli Army Radio, "The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them . . . [this] damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves."
The site, the holiest in Judaism, is the only remaining piece of the outer wall of the second Jewish temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
The Obama campaign has declined to comment on the note.